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Week 2 Game Recap: Arizona Cardinals 0, Los Angeles Rams 34
What you need to know
For the second week in a row the Cardinals offense showed minimal production, this time at the hands of the divisional rival Rams. The offense is stunted in they rarely challenge down the field and the space available to David Johnson
and Larry Fitzgerald
within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage shrinks. Also, the offensive line and Sam Bradford
have struggled mightily in obvious passing situations. As a result, even Johnson and Fitzgerald, the two overt skill position talents for Arizona, have been minimized. With the Bears up next, things do not get easier. The drum beat for Josh Rosen
will intensify by the game if Arizonaís offense remains stagnant.
The Rams completely outclassed the Cardinals, who look to be undergoing significant growing pains in both roster construction and in their understanding of a new defensive scheme. The Rams offense eats up free access to their wide receivers, and the Cardinals provided that for almost the entire game. Todd Gurley
wasn't overly impressive from a YPC perspective, but he carried the load early in the game - scoring 3 TDs and allowing a break for himself in the 4th quarter on a hot Sunday in Los Angeles.
|QB Sam Bradford, 45 offensive snaps, Pass: 17 - 27 - 90 - 0 TD / 1 INT|
Against the Rams was another game to forget for Sam Bradford
in Week 2. Once again the offensive line and run game set up plenty of third-and-long situations, plus the game script was out of control early with a hearty deficit. Bradford was uncharacteristically inaccurate on a handful of routine throws also contributing to the teamís offensive futility. The first half saw Arizona struggle to stay on the field for more than three offensive plays at a time with the second half not substantially better, even with garbage time in the fourth quarter. Bradfordís third down situations were difficult overall with long yardage and typically early pressure from the Ramsí formidable defensive front. Even when down by three scores in the second half, the play calling was conservative for Arizona and they struggled to produce anything notable down the field. The clock is ticking on Bradford as the starter if the offense does not improve in the coming weeks with first-round pick Josh Rosen
the clear future of the position and the team off to an abysmal 0-2 start without being competitive in either game.
|RB David Johnson, 35 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 48 - 0, Rec: 1 - 3 - 0 (2 targets)|
The offensive struggles for Arizona have stifled David Johnson
ís opportunities through two games. This week against the Rams was worse than Week 1 as Johnson had one positive play in the first half on his own accord, a spin move to gain additional yardage on their opening drive. The two most notable observations were Johnsonís lack of snaps late in the game in lieu of Chase Edmonds
mopping up garbage time and the lack of use in the passing game for Johnson, a cornerstone trait in years past. Johnson had a reception called back by penalty, but the lack of a downfield presence in the passing game and being unable to sustain drives is a major limitation to David Johnson
ís production through two games.
|RB Chase Edmonds, 10 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 5 - 0, Rec: 5 - 15 - 0 (5 targets)|
Edmonds saw most of his snaps late in the game against the Rams with the outcome already decided with a blowout loss. Edmondsí most notable play came on a low reception in the final minute of garbage time to extend the drive, which ended a few plays later. Edmonds mixed in with a breather for David Johnson
every few drives, but the upside is limited due to the poor showings by Arizonaís offense even if Edmonds were pushed to the starting role with a David Johnson
Kirk was second on the team in receiving yards against the Rams, but with only 90 team yards through the air, it is a hollow victory for the rookie receiver. The Cardinals struggled mightily on offense, rarely stringing together successful plays or challenging the Rams beyond the first down marker. Kirk flashed on the ability side, but it did not stack up to a strong box score result. Kirk converted a rare third down for Arizona with an in-cut reception and churned out strong yards-after-catch on a slot screen but was stopped just short of the first down. Kirk also made a great catch away from his body and maintained control through a big hit. Outside of Larry Fitzgerald
and Christian Kirk
, there has been minimal wide receiver presence in Arizonaís offense through two games.
Fitzgerald sustained a hamstring injury against the Rams, limiting his second half work in the blowout loss. It was tough sledding for Fitzgerald before the injury as he got loose in the secondary a single time, finding an open zone for a third-and-long conversion. Everything else was a battle, including a diving reception and multiple targets batted away by the defense. A bigger concern than Fitzgerald waning ability to separate is Arizonaís futility as an offense through two weeks.
Seals-Jones led the Cardinals in targets against the Rams, but the result was a mere 17 yards. Seals-Jones, the wide receiver convert struggled to separate or find any opportunities after the catch, running mostly out routes and crossing patterns. On his lone opportunity down the field, a slant route on third down, Seals-Jonesí target was broken up by a lured defensive back. While the starter, Seals-Jones has yet to show some of the big play ability from last year.
Los Angeles Rams
|QB Jared Goff, 72 offensive snaps, Pass: 24 - 32 - 354 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - 2 - 0|
Goff started in rhythm on the first drive, looking to get Robert Woods
involved in pass game early this week. He forced Deep Over to Woods on 3rd and 10 on first drive, leading to a tip/almost interception. Goff didn't see the LB read his eyes and float over to take the route away. He shows excellent accuracy on intermediate inside breaking routes which really helps to protect Brandin Cooks
, as he is being involved going over the middle more than ever in his career. Back to back Pass, hit Cooks on a Dig then sacked on next play on a Toss Boot. Arguably his most impressive throw of the day was his ugliest - a great job of getting a semi-dangerous throw to an open Robert Woods
He had to deal with compressed space quickly in the pocket, throwing off-platform off his back foot -a wobbly ball but it got there for a big play. The Rams also showed a new look from their Empty Formation Touch Pass package to build off the TD play Gurley scored on vs the Raiders - this one went to Cooks for 9 yards and an almost touchdown. Goff's interception came on the first drive of the 2nd half while just outside the redzone. The Rams ran Play Action on 3rd and 9 from the 21. Goff got immediate pressure. He evaded the sack and got outside the pocket, but held the ball too long and threw it late to a covered Cooks. The result was an easy INT for Patrick Peterson. His touchdown pass came on the Rams' very last drive after they were already up 4 scores - a short toss to an uncovered Tyler Higbee
in the flat.
|RB Todd Gurley, 49 offensive snaps, Rush: 19 - 42 - 3, Rec: 3 - 31 - 0 (3 targets)|
The Rams notably tried to attack the Cardinals with runs to the right side with Gurley with very little success from a YPC standpoint. The Arizona front 7 played very aggressively and got stops behind the line of scrimmage. While Gurley wasn't overly productive from a YPC standpoing, he was the Rams' engine inside the redzone, scoring 3 times on the day. On his first TD, Higbee and Kupp both got great seals on the edge and Gurley was able to drip outside for an 11 yard TD. It was great blocking and great patience by Gurley to press the run inside before cutting out at the least minute and breaking a Patrick Peterson tackle attempt to get to the perimeter. He converted the 2 point conversion on an inside zone (LAR had to run 2-point because their kicker wasn't available). Gurley got a ton of work in both run and pass game to close out the 2nd quarter, capping the drive off with a 1 yd TD run as the clock hit :00. He converted another short TD late in the third quarter putting the Rams up 27-0 and exited the game thereafter.
|RB Malcolm Brown, 23 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 46 - 0 (1 targets)|
Brown took lead back duties from Gurley with 2:23 left in the 3rd quarter. On his first third down in the game, handled blitz pickup great, de-cleating a free blitzing ILB so Goff could make the conversion on a big catch-and-run to Kupp. He showed extreme reliability as a pass protecter throughout the game. Because of the Rams lead, he got quite a bit of work to close the game out - even with the Rams staying aggressive and throwing into the 4th quarter. He is a bit of a one-speed runner and is not particularly fast, but understands blocking concepts, has patience, and has enough physicality to run through arm tackles.
|WR Brandin Cooks, 72 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 159 - 0 (9 targets)|
The Cardinals gave Cooks free access off the line of scrimmage all game, and he obliged by torching them in the intermediate pass game over the middle of the field. He would have had an even more productive day on a would-be easy TD to the flat was batted at the LOS by Chandler Jones. The Rams opened up their first series of the second half with a 57 yard bomb off of a Play Action Post that looked to have a coverage bust (nobody over the top of the defense). He made a really impressive contested catch on a Deep Over from the slot in the 4th quarter, high pointing the ball and bringing it down in traffic and getting to the ground to avoid the hit.
|WR Cooper Kupp, 72 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 63 - 0 (6 targets)|
Kupp continues his role as a hybrid slot WR/tight end for the rams. His first major value target came late in 3rd quarter, a drag from inside the 10. He made the reception, but was tackled short of endzone. Gurley converted for easy TD on the next play. His biggest play of the game was a 3rd down conversion, a double move inside for a catch-and-run of 29 yards. He and Higbee's willingness to be involved as a blockers really make the Rams' offense go.
|WR Robert Woods, 70 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 81 - 0 (9 targets)|
Woods continues to be extremely reliable for the Rams offense and for the second week in a row, just missed out on some huge plays that would have really exploded his statline. The Rams made a more concerted effort to get him more involved in the game early this week. He had the most beautiful catch of any Rams WR so far this season on a back-shoulder slot fade against the safety, where he climbed the ladder, high-pointed the ball, maintained possession through contact with the DB and the ground. He was the recipient of an almost-TD that was just a hair overthrown on a wide open 9 route in the 4th quarter (coverage bust).
|TE Tyler Higbee, 64 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 3 - 1 (2 targets)|
Higbee surprisingly got two valuable targets in this game. The first came just outside the redzone on the first drive of the second quarter, running a deep corner - the ball not in play for him to make the reception. It would have been a tough contested catch vs man. He scored on the exact same Flat concept that Goff tried to get to Brandin Cooks
earlier in the game except the pass was not batted down this time and Higbee scored an easy touchdown. Although he got two valuable targets in this game, Higbee continues more to be featured as an offensive tackle with an 80s number who also splits out as a WR to give his quarterback coverage identifiers. He is not regularly involved in the route progression.
Everett started rotating with Higbee at the beginning of the 4th quarter when the game was well out of hand. His first target was a 17 yard catch and run, beat man coverage on same double move out-and-in that Kupp ran the play before. Displayed his potential as a YAC player and is fast in the open field. If Kupp suffered any type of long term injury, Everett would be a player to potentially monitor to fill in as the Rams' short pass game/redzone target.